Policy Opportunities and Constraints to Access Youth Financial Services

Helping youth access and use financial services
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This paper addresses barriers that youth in developing countries face while accessing and using financial services. It looks at related challenges and opportunities at the macro level that affect youth access to and utilization of financial services. It also provides insights from the UNCDF-YouthStart program. The paper states that youth face many barriers in accessing financial services, including restrictions in the legal and regulatory environment, inappropriate and inaccessible products and services, and low financial capability. Overcoming these barriers and achieving successful youth financial inclusion requires a multi-stakeholder approach that engages government, Financial Service Providers (FSPs), Youth Service Organizations (YSOs), other youth stakeholders, as well as youth themselves. The paper suggests that:

  • An inclusive, protective, and youth-friendly regulatory environment that recognizes the needs of youth can help overcome these barriers;
  • Financial education and entrepreneurship development can assist youth using available financial services;
  • Government policies and incentives can help encourage the financial sector to design appropriate financial products, and innovative delivery channels;
  • Coordination amongst policy makers, line ministries, and regulators can contribute to more effective policies and activities that support financial inclusion of youth.